President Bill Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act into law in 2000. Congress subsequently reauthorized the Act in 2003, 2005, and 2008. It is the United States' initial attempt to combat modern slavery.
The Act targets sex slavery, child labor, debtor servitude, involuntary servitude and other conditions now known as "human trafficking."
In 2010, Luis CdeBaca, ambassador-at-large with the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, described the problem as "what we now know by the umbrella term "trafficking in persons" and respond to through the "three Ps": protection, prevention, and prosecution. But whatever the particular euphemism we see used, as Secretary [of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton recently said to the President's Cabinet: "Let's call it what it is, a modern form of slavery."
The Act provides for the creation of an interagency task force and an office, such as CdeBaca's, to monitor instances of human trafficking, both in the United States and around the world. Once a year, the office presents its findings in the Trafficking in Persons Report. The report not only monitors incidents of trafficking, but the efforts of nations to meet minimum standards to prevent trafficking. Based on those criteria, the report ranks nations according to their compliance.
The Act promotes a larger understanding of human trafficking; proper law enforcement responses (which include not punishing victims); providing assistance to victims; providing assistance through foreign aid to countries trying to comply with minimum standards; and refusing foreign aid to countries not attempting compliance.